In Texas non-sexual assaultive offenses run the range from fine-only Class C misdemeanors to first-degree felonies with a maximum life sentence.
Class C Misdemeanor Cases
At the lower end are assaultive offenses by threat (intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury) and assault by touching (intentionally or knowingly causing offensive or provocative physical contact). These are Class C misdemeanors, with a maximum fine of $500.
Class B Misdemeanor Cases
An assault by threat or by touching by someone who is not a sports participant against a person who is a sports participant is a Class B misdemeanor assault.
Class A Misdemeanor Cases
The next step up is assault by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury. This is a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum jail sentence of one year.
Attempted Class A assault would be a Class B misdemeanor because every attempt is one step down from the completed offense. Assault by threat or contact against an elderly individual or a disabled individual is also a Class A assault.
Third Degree Felony Assault
Next up the ladder is assault by causing bodily injury to a public servant, security officer, or emergency services personnel.
That’s a third-degree felony, with a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
Also a 3rd Degree Felony is a domestic-violence assault by causing bodily injury (on a family member or member of the household, among others) if the defendant has been convicted of (or placed on deferred-adjudication probation for) a domestic-violence offense before or if the crime was committed by impeding breathing or blood circulation in the neck (by choking, more or less).
Second Degree Felony & Aggravated Assault
Above that, an assault by choking is a second-degree felony if the defendant has a prior domestic-violence conviction.
Likewise, if the defendant commits assault (even as minor as a threat or by touching) and causes serious bodily injury or exhibits a deadly weapon, this is an aggravated assault, a second-degree felony with a maximum twenty years in prison. Note that aggravated assault does not require an intent to cause bodily injury, but only that serious bodily injury be caused or a deadly weapon be exhibited.
If you are charged with assault or aggravated assault, whether against a family member, a household member, or someone else, and you need to hire a lawyer with the expertise to defend you, call Bennett & Bennett at 713.224.1747.
First Degree Felony Cases
If the aggravated assault is committed with a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to a household member, it is a first-degree felony with a maximum life sentence.
If the aggravated assault is committed by or against a public servant, in retaliation, or against a security officer it is a first-degree felony.
If it is a drive-by shooting and it causes serious bodily injury, the charge is a first-degree felony.
Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual
Punishment ranges are increased for injuries to people in certain protected groups. Intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury to a child, for example, is a third-degree felony, two steps up from the Class A misdemeanor that it would be if an adult were the victim. Negligently causing bodily injury to a child is a state-jail felony, one step up from the Class A misdemeanor that it would be against an adult.
Convictions & Consequences
You will have observed that family-violence (including against relatives by blood or marriage, ex-spouses, parents of the same child, foster family, people in the same household, people who used to live in the same household, people who are dating, people who were dating, and people who used to date or be married to someone who the defendant is now dating or married to) enhance the punishment for several types of assaults. This is one of the things that makes family-violence assault cases more serious than other assaults.
A family-violence conviction also affects your right to own a firearm under federal law, and cannot be removed from your record with a petition for nondisclosure or an expunction.
Even non-family-violence cases are serious matters, however. If you find yourself accused of assault and in need of expert counsel to help you through it, call Bennett & Bennett at 713.224.1747.